tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC September 9, 2012 12:00pm-2:00pm EDT
rn what makes our bank so different. hello, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." i'm alex witt. there you see the president of the united states. he's in melbourne, florida. we'll take you right now to listen to part of his speech. >> two fundamentally different paths for america. two very different visions for our future. and our fight is for that basic bargain that built the middle class in this country and the strongest economy the world's ever known. and it was basically a simple idea. the idea that here in america, hard work will pay off. that here in america, responsibility will be rewarded. that everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share and everybody plays by the same rules from wall street to
main street to washington, d.c. and that -- that basic bargain is why i ran for president. because i saw too many jobs disappearing overseas. too many families struggling with the costs that keep ongoing up even though paychecks aren't going up. too many people racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition or put gas in the car or food on the table. and when this house of cards collapsed in this great recession, we saw millions of innocent americans lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their savings. d we're still trying to recover from that tragedy. now, our friends at the republican convention, they were more than happy to talk about everything that they think is wrong with america. but they didn't have much to say about how to make it right.
they want your vote, but they don't have a plan. or at least they don't want to tell you their plan. and that's because they've got the same -- same plan they've had for 30 years. tax cuts, tax cuts, gut a few regulations, and then give some more tax cuts. tax cuts when times are good. tax cuts when times are bad. tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds. tax cuts to improve your love life. i said that -- i said that at the last event yesterday, and somebody yelled out, i've tried it, it didn't work! now, listen. i've given tax cuts to folks who need it.
four years ago, four years ago i promised i would cut taxes for middle-class families. and i did. the typical family's paying -- the typical family's paying $3,600 less in federal taxes since i've been president. we've cut taxes for small businesses 18 times. but i don't believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires are going to bring good jobs to our shores or pay down the deficit just like i don't think that firing teachers or kicking students off of grow an economy. that's not going to help us compete with china and other countries that are coming up. after all we've been through, i sure don't believe rolling back
regulations we put in place to make sure wall street doesn't act recklessly, that rolling those regulations back somehow will help small businesswomen florida. or laid off construction workers get back to work. let me tell you, florida, what they are selling, we are not buying. we've been there, we've tried it, it's not working, we're not moving forward! running for a second term for president of the now, i will not pretend that the path i'm offering is quick or easy. you know, it's going to take more than a few years to deal with problems that have been building up for decades. but let me tell you something.
when our opponent goes around saying that the nation's in decline, he doesn't know what he's talking about. this is america. we've got the best workers in the world. the best entrepreneurs in the world. we've got the best scientists and researchers in the world. we've got the best colleges and universities in the world. we are a young nation. we've got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity. people want to come here from every corner of the globe. no matter what the nay sayers tell us, no matter what they -- how dark they try to make things look for election time, there's t another country on earth that wouldn't trade places with so i promise you, our problems can be solved.
and our challenges can be met. the path we offer may be harder, but it'll lead to a better place. and i'm asking you to choose that future. to rally around some goals. concrete, achievable goals in manufacturing and energy and education. in reducing our deficit. that will lead to new jobs and more opportunity. and it will rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation. that's what the next four years about. running for president. that's why i need your support. now, just in case some of you missed me on thursday, i want to be -- i want to lay out once again what i'm talking about with this plan. first, i've got a plan to export more products and send fewer
jobs overseas. decade of decline, this country's actually created more than 500,000 new manufacturing jobs over the last 2 1/2 years. of here on the space coast, we've started a new era of american exploration that is creating good jobs right here in this county. we've begun an ambitious new direction for nasa by laying the ground work for 21st century space flight and innovation. and just last month we witnessed of wonder and our can do spirit. the united states of america landing curiosity on mars. so this is an example of what we
do when we combine our science, our research, our ability to commercialize, new products, making them here in america. you know, so -- so this is where we've got a choice. we could, as the house republican budget proposes, cut back on research and technology. or we can continue to be at the cutting edge. because that's what we've always been about. we can spark new discoveries, lau launch new careers, inspire the next generation to reach for something better. you've got that choice. we can -- we can make sure that not only are we investing in great research, but the products that come out of that research are made here in the united states. >> and the president speaking at florida institute of tech nothing. of course, speaking directly to that crowd. giving a lot of hope and
inspiration in talking about what america can be. but i guess in a nutshell as we bring in nbc's kristen welker, traveling with the president, it seems like the president wants to move forward by strengthening he's to that. energy. him talk about landing he's doing what he's done for the past several weeks, which is make this vision for the country and romney's vision for the country. you, alex, he's to be talking about medicare today. highlighting a new analysis from a harvard romney/ryan plan someone who is was hired in 2030 would pay an extra $125,000 over the course of their lifetime. we should point out that harvard
professor is a former obama campaign adviser from 2008. study is basically not genuine, is not real. they call it false attacks and discredited attacks. so the romney campaign firing back quickly on that line of attack. alex, i can tell you the issues that you just heard the president bring up are issues that resonate here in florida. medicare especially rez nasonat here in florida because seniors voters. at least they did back in 2008. tighter, here, alex. the president does have a slight lead here. but the unemployment rate is higher than the national average. that could really be his biggest challenge to holding on to this state in 2012. you know, this state has 29 electoral votes. it's really the most coveted swing state.
president obama is back at the white house tomorrow where he'll be preparing to mark the september 11th anniversary which falls on tuesday. z . >> indead, it does. thanks so much. meanwhile, mitt romney made an exclusive appearance on "meet the press" today for a wide ranging interview. the first topic, the economy. >> if this president's re-elected, you're going to see chronic high unemployment continue for another four years or longer. you're going to see low wage growth if any growth at all. of course, there'll always be this fiscal calamity at our doorstep. a crisis potential at our doorstep. the kind that you're seeing in europe today. >> moderator david gregory asked governor romney about the bumper stick we are a statement vice president biden made at the democratic national convention saying osama bin laden is dead and general motors is alive. here's the governor's response. >> of course, he deserves credit for giving the order for the s.e.a.l. team 6 to go after bin laden and take him out. that's exactly right.
with regards to gm, we'll probably get a chance to take a closer look at that. my view was general motors should have gone into bankruptcy earlier. the president resisted that for six months. i said let them go into bankruptcy. help them come out. but let them go in. >> mr. romney also answered critics who say his family's wealth has made him and his wife not relatable to the average american. >> i really think that those people that try and minimize the feeling and the connection we have with the american people really miss the mark very badly and are trying to divide americans based on who has money and who is able to achieve success and who does not have as much. frankly, americans are not defined by whether they were successful financially or not. >> govern eor romney's was also asked about clint eastwood's speech at the republican national convention that had a lot of people scratching their heads. >> it was a little bizarre to have him talking to the chair. >> you don't expect to have a guy like clint eastwood get up
and read some speech from a teleprompter. at the bottom of the hour, mitt romney's health care hedge. is he changing his tune about so-called obama care? that's coming our way in about 20 minutes or so from now. so far today, dozens have been killed and hundreds injured in a wave of violence sweeping at least 11 iraqi cities. the target? iraqi security forces. a pair of car bombs killed at least 16 people near a shy yit shrine in the city of amara. earlier a car bomb killed three people and injured more than two dozen at a marketplace in basra. west coast headlines are coming up next with one state's alcohol rules coming under fire. also, about that night. the man who got the only interview with clint eastwood since his strange moment in the spotlight at the republican
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right now people are cleaning up after severe storms pummeled the northeast and mid-atlantic. in new york city two tornadoes struck. one in brooklyn, the other in queens. stunned new yorkers watched as the massive twisters moved across the horizon. 110 mile per hour winds ripped the roofs off homes and sent bricks flying through the air. but amazingly, no injuries were reported. >> we were told to get down on the floor. we were all on top of each other. we heard this, like, fence crash down. it was just really scary. it happened really quick. so thank god we're all okay. >> let's get right to the damage
zone in new york city. weather channel meteorologist reynolds wolf is live in brooklyn. can you believe it? twisters faring throue in teari york city. what about clean up? >> it's going pretty well. we replaced the sound of wind and rain with some hammers, a couple leaf blowers and whatnot. there is a mess to clean up. is this something that comes close to rivals a joplin or us the tuscaloosa? of course not. there are no fatalities, no injuries. there is some damage. the tree behind me, we're trying to decide, is that an american oak? sycamore? i'm going for stump. you see also background. the awning and iron. in the foreground, plenty of woodchips here. this was probably another nice tree. maybe 20, 30 feet high that
provided a lot of shade. right now it provides looks like stuff you put in a guinea pig cage or something. anyways, we're very fortunate it wasn't worse. people were certainly scared. you had the one that struck here. you had the one that struck out towards queens and surf point. or breezy point. thankfully, again, we get the clean up, but no injuries. >> you do make a good point. no injuries and no deaths. that is very, very important. thank you so much, reynolds wolf. we appreciate it. new today, the latest gallup daily tracking poll shows president obama increases his lead slightly. the president is now ahead of mitt romney by four points, 49% to 45%. joining me now, contributing editor for "newsweek" and "the daily beast," eleanor cliff. >> good morning. or good afternoon, alex. >> as convention bounces go, eleanor, is it clear now president obama got a bigger bounce than mitt romney and how much does that really matter ultimately? >> well, i don't think mitt romney got any bounce. it looks as though the president
got four or five points. i think in the modern era that's probably significant. whether it's lasting we'll have to see. the president i think comes out of his convention with a little more to build on than mitt romney did. >> okay. i want to play part of the new rnc ad for you and get your reaction. here it is. >> if you are willing to work with me. >> if you're willing to work even harder in this election. >> i promise you. >> i promise you. >> i promise you, change will come. >> if there's continued bad economic news, eleanor, how hard is it for the president to counter this argument? the voters have heard it all before from president obama, and it didn't work. >> well, i think the president found his best validation in the speech that bill clinton gave. and, basically, clinton said that he couldn't have fixed this mess in -- any faster than president obama, nor could any of his predecessors.
i think when clinton says it, i think when people look back on the clinton years, they look back with some nostalgia for an economy that really was booming. and in a way, the convention was more about clinton than it was about obama. and clinton said the mess they left, he's not cleaning it up fast enough so they want to be reinstated. he really gave the president a way to frame the arguments going forward. i think you're going to see a lot of bill clinton campaigning. particularly in florida. >> i was going to say. >> if they can deny florida to mitt romney, i think they've got the election. >> we know that bill clinton is, indeed, on the agenda in florida. you heard part of the president. given all of this, the troubling economic news, the other president still up four points. how do you explain that? if you're in the romney camp, what do you do about it? >> the romney camp keeps making the argument they have been making.
this president is a nice man, a good family man, but he's not that much of a leader. and he doesn't have a clear enough vision. i think even some democrats would agree with that. but i think democrats don't want to be told that the decision they made in '08 was a wrong decision. and they want this president to succeed. i think they're still rooting for him and they're looking for really they want him -- they want him to throw a lifeline that voters can hang on to and say, yes, let's go ahead for another four years. i think it's those two tensions. a challenger that is not really spelling out what he would do other than, i succeeded in private business, therefore i will succeed as president. i think that's not a compelling enough argument. so i think romney has more work to do and president obama has more work to do to have people really believe in him and believe in the vision that he is setting out. but it's become a campaign that really is a choice between two
candidates. that's progress for president obama. if it was a referendum on what he didn't accomplish in four years, he'd be a goner. >> yeah. very quickly we have debates coming up. do you get a sense of which candidate's the better debater? >> oh, i think mitt romney has plenty of practice, but those group gropes are not like one on one. >> he was never -- with those debates tu debates during the primaries, he never came out on top of all those. it's not like we say he totally won that one hands down. >> no. he survived in a group situation. i don't think that tells us much about the one on one. i thought at the democratic convention the footage from the kennedy/romney debate in '94 was quite educational. i think ted kennedy managed to really push back against romney with a couple of good lines. also just a sense that he brought more experience. and romney was this kind of upstart. i think the president, he's
going to have to be the president in these debates and kind of toss away some of the challenges of -- from mitt romney. like he's a bothersome, you know, gnat on his shirt sleeve. maybe that's too extreme. >> maybe. i didn't say it. you did. eleanor clift, thank you very much. what the members of terror cells have in common with the average american. i talk with evan coleman in office politics. this country was built by working people.
companies have to invest in making things. infrastructure, construction, production. we need it now more than ever. chevron's putting more than $8 billion dollars back in the u.s. economy this year. in pipes, cement, steel, jobs, energy. we need to get the wheels turning. i'm proud of that. making real things... for real. ...that make a real difference. ♪ what are the stories trending on the web this hour? house democratic leader nancy pelosi's denial about a conference phone call with president obama. in the new book price of politics author bob woodward claims pelosi pressed the mute button on a speakerphone as the president spoke to congressional allies about the push to pass the 2009 stimulus. we'll be right back. ♪
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with alex witt." surprising comments from mitt romney in an exclusive nbc interview. he once vowed to totally repeal obama's affordable care act. he appears to be hedging on some aspects. "meet the press" host david gregory pressed him. >> i say we're going to replace obama care. i'm replacing it with my own plan. even in massachusetts where i was governor, our plan there deals with pre-existing conditions and with young people. >> you'd keep that as part of the federal plan? >> i'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. of course, there are a number of things that i like in health care reform that i'm going to put in place. one is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. >> with me now for strategy talk, former governor howard dean, democrat from vermont. and a nationally syndicated talk show host and msnbc contributor. governor dean, i'm going to start with you. what does that sound like to
you? can you get away with it politically? >> he's going to have some trouble from the right. this is actually a dangerous thing for mitt romney. i thought he did very well in that interview and he was very much in control. he can't stop himself from saying whatever he thinks is popular. this guy badly wants to be elected president. he doesn't much care whose platform he adopts once he gets there. that is mitt romney's -- one of the mitt romney's quintessential weaknesses. the other is that he doesn't play by the same rules, his tax returns in the cayman islands and all that kind of stuff. a good interview on "meet the press." he was very much on message. that is not a good thing to say. you want to reassure the american people with him it's going to look like he's backtracking. >> i'm going to step up what you said. i think not only did mitt romney do a great job. david gregory, it was a very, very informative interview. we did get insight into things. michael, with you, is governor romney suddenly re
embracing romney care? >> what i hear him doing is embracing the popular aspects of the president's plan. i wish there had been a follow-up question asked of governor romney, and it would have been this. how do you pay for or how do you ensure insurance companies are affording coverage for pre-existing conditions and affording coverage for younger americans if you're getting rid of the individual mandate? because it seems to me you can't parse the president's plan. you need the individual mandate in order to have those requirements that are the most popular aspects of the plan. it's something that governor romney didn't address in primary season because he knows the objection in 2010 from the right wasn't to the federal government telling americans that they need insurance. it was to the notion generally of the government saying you need insurance. so now he's trying to tack toward the middle to appeal to independents. but i think it's going to be a tough sell for him. >> governor dean, the headline on this morning's politico front page article "state of the race:
advantage obama." it quotes a top republican official as saying their map has many more routes to victory. true at this point? >> it is true. but, again, i thought romney did very well on "meet the press." i hope the obama handlers were watching that. he was on message almost all the time. driving the message, i thought, right over david as he tried to ask questions. i thought nbc made a mistake to get the interview in romney's headquarters in the outdoors. i thought that was putting him on friendly territory. i'm sure that was a condition of the interview. i thought it was a tough one. i do think it's obama's to lose. i think romney has still got to make the sale. people just simply don't believe he cares about ordinary middle-class people. and he doesn't come across as if he is. it's tough. he's ahead -- the president's ahead in nine of the ten swing states. it's a tight margin. we have some work to do here between now and election day. >> governor, do you think, then, that the obama campaign has
something to worry about? you're looking at mitt romney in this environment doing by your own admission well in this interview. >> i think for the last five days mitt romney's been squirreled up and the west -- he's been practicing hard. it was the most on message i've seen him today. the president's going to win, but i think he's got a lot of work to do. you can't take the debates lightly. i think the president's a better debater. i think he's far more experienced than governor romney is. i don't expect redubs of the 1994 debate clip we showed during the convention. >> michael, we're coming off a pretty weak jobs report. how much more of reports like that can this -- can happen before it starts taking a serious toll on the president? >> well, i think in this case, alex, i think that the democratic national convention was a strong performance. so you had three strong days to prepare or inoculate the country for that coming jobs report.
frankly, when i looked at the job figures i started to think of bill clinton's speech in particular. and how he had laid a foundation for how that information ought to be received. i'm a little surprised that you don't hear more from the obama campaign about the stock market. i'm surprised that you don't hear more claims about where the dow stands. a lot of folks have their 401(k)s absolutely on the line and are seeing quite a bump over the span of the last couple of years. and i'm not giving parity to the stock market and the unemployment figure. but certainly they ought to be evaluated in the same context. >> should be a talking point. some attention in recent days on the romney's campaign, the latest ad blitz there. because it is not releasing ads in either michigan nor pennsylvania. do you see the romney camp as giving up on those states? >> well, you know, i am a pennsylvanian. i'm here in the thick of this campaign. i must say i'm surprised. look, for the last several years i've questioned whether we're truly a swing state. because it's not been since 1988
when george herbert walker bush captured pennsylvania. yet every four years it's discussed as if it is a swing state. i interpret that data as an acknowledgment that it's really president obama's to lose at this juncture. barring something significant happening in a debate, pennsylvania will go that way. >> i was going to ask if you think that's a smart move. >> i just did an article for the press in montreal. politico, a right leaning reporting organization, pennsylvania's not on the list. i think people have seen the handwriting on the wall. that doesn't mean we don't have any work to do. pennsylvania's going to be close. we have work to do in michigan. we need to win those states. if we win, pennsylvania, michigan and virginia this game is over. if we win either ohio and florida and we're ahead in both right now. >> howard dean, michael smerconish, always good to see you both. thank you so much. tuesday is the anniversary
of 9/11. in today's office politics my conversation with msnbc terrorism analyst evan coleman. i began by asking him about his greatest fear for an attack here on u.s. soil. >> my greatest fear, honestly, is that an al qaeda affiliate group. a group that we haven't been looking at that closely. aqap is a good example of that. before the underwear bomb plot, no one had heard of al qaeda in yemen. my concern is that you have an al qaeda affiliate group that's not being heavily focused in on. they identify u.s. nationals who they can work with who are under the radar who are home grown, who are esoteric or at the fringes of the jihadi community. those individuals are able to come up with a plot that is simple, is easy to carry out and causes major economic damage. that is exactly what al qaeda is saying its goal is right now. >> is it difficult to uncover al
qaeda plots? >> yeah, it is exceptionally difficult. >> why? >> because of the fact that the only places you can really uncover them are when people cross borders or when people communicate in a public area, right? and occasionally you get lucky with having spies. we pick up clues. we pick up conversations. we certainly pick up people that are planning on carrying out acts of violence. that's where you look at someone like omar abdulal la, the underwear bomber. this a guy who should have come to the attention of the u.s. government. he should have. but he was at the fringes of the jihadi community. he didn't look like what we were expecting. >> you and i talk on the air about this world a lot. and i have to tell you that every time i sit down to talk with you onset, something in the back of my mind says, should i be talking with you about these details? should i be putting information out there for anybody in the world to listen to? what do you say to that? >> this is a dilemma we have a
lot. the reality is, is that terrorists are not stupid. logically speaking, most anything that ends up on the news, most anything that ends up on tv, i think it's fair to assume they probably already know about this. they are probably already aware of this. these guys, you know, there's this popular mantra about terrorists hide in caves. that's not true. as the raid that killed osama bin laden showed, terrorists don't live in caves. they live in cities. they have high-speed internet access. in pakistan, all these guys use the triple play project which is same thing that time warner offers right here in the u.s. cable, high-speed internet, telephone bundled together. they use the same services that we do. they're just as sophisticated. they know how to use google. they know how to use facebook. they know how to use social networking. so it's very important to have operational security. and it's very important not to divulge details which are assisting terrorist
organizations. >> would you say that when you're talking with a terrorist, quote, unquote, is this somebody who's going to leave the conversation with you and go home and worry about putting food on the dinner table for his or her children? put them to bed and lead a normal life? is it that normal? >> you know, it's really -- it's really weird, it is. some of these guys, literally we see them driving away in their compact cars with the wife and the kid in the back. we see pictures from the front line in afghanistan of folks that have brought their entire family there. little kids running around, the wives, everything. for a lot of these guys, this is a lifestyle. it's not just a part-time job. it's a lifestyle. and they are human beings just like we are. we may not agree with their ideology and we may not agree with their methodology, but they are human beings. they're subject to the same lifestyle aspects that we are engaged in. they are subject to the same human weaknesses that we suffer
from. >> this is cool. is this problpaganda? >> actually, that is something that was being handed out in pakistan to try to encourage people to turn in osama bin laden. >> what you hear about the la leaflets that are dropped. >> there you go. example of it right there. match book. yeah. on the back you have the now number one man in al qaeda sfwl you deliver, we pay. >> yeah. rewards for justice. it's been a very interesting program. down here this is a certificate i got last year in saudi arabia. >> can you read that? >> fluently, no. not in the least. although thankfully there's an english translation on the other side of it. >> next weekend my interview with larry sabato, director of the university of virginia's center for politics. it will be 11 years since the attacks that changed america. we invite all of you to watch coverage of 9/11 as it happened tuesday morning here on msnbc. the story behind the empty chair incident.
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to politics now. a new article argues republicans are losing female votes over more than just health care and reproductive rights. a recent poll shows that 52% of women favor president obama. just 36% support mitt romney. the article in the guardian says a lot of that fwap comes down to the issue of fair pay. it is an issue she says republicans are fumbling, and badly. i'm glad you're here. thank you. being two girls we're going to have a lot of fun with this particular issue. talk about this pay gap in the u.s. full-time wages for women are about 77 cents to the dollar for every man? >> yeah.
and that's persistent in spite of the fact that we have great laws on the books. so obviously something is awry. it's an issue that democrats have been trying to address through legislation. sometimes successfully. but that republicans have really just left untouched. >> an issue that you think will come front and center in this presidential race the last couple months? >> i think it depends in part on what the candidates do with the issue. it really provides an opportunity for obama and the democrats to take the lead and show that, you know, come out in front of it and show that they have been the party pushing to rectify this prlem. which costs, you know, women and their families, so men are involved, too, thousands of dollars, even more than that, in higher income populations. higher income families. but romney's going to try to get women voters on the issue of jobs and the economy. we're already seeing him make inroads on that. democrats have to be careful. >> i want to play you what one
republican senator, dean heller of nevada, had to say about the paycheck fairness act. here it is, everyone. >> let me be clear. pay discrimination based upon gender is unacceptable. despite the political rhetoric around here, everyone agrees on this fact. the question is, will paycheck fairness act actually address workplace inequality? and the simple answer is no. >> okay. so the argument he's making is that republicans are all for paycheck fairness. but there's something wrong with this particular act. as people know, oftentimes you'll have an act that's proposed and it gets loaded up with pork and thereby you can say, well, we understand why you didn't want to vote for this. because there's other stuff that makes it unpalatable. in this case true or no? >> i don't think so. it was a fairly scream lined act. a completely market based act. you would think republicans would like it. the problem with unequal pay is
that the market doesn't have the information. people are not talking with their colleagues about how much they're making. this act would have allowed for essentially free speech in terms of people being allowed to discuss pay at work, allowed to raise the issue with their employers. it doesn't make sense the republicans wouldn't like such a free market act. it also begs the question, you know, if they don't like this act, what exactly is their proposal? left and right, they just say we don't like this, we don't like that. the republicans are not coming up with any legislation to address the pay gap. >> women are coming up with, that is getting themselves to the polls. we have graphics we want to show all of you. 2008, 9.7 million more women. women are out there and they are voting. so how do you think this plays out come november? >> well, as we know, it really depends on what happens in the swing states. you could win the female vote, the women's vote, and lose the election as john kerry did, as
al gore did, technically, we're not sure. but it really depends, can obama get this message across in florida, in ohio, in virginia. so far he is getting that vote. but as i said, the romney campaign is really going to try to sneak up from behind here and make the case that under obama, women haven't done as well. we just had a bad jobs report. so the democrats need to come out in front and make it clear that women of all income brackets need to vote, you know, in their economic interest. and romney's party has been constantly blocking progress. >> all right. i want to thank you very much for joining us. we appreciate it. the laughing matter over the president's birth certificate at a florida sports bar. that's in our next hour. and everyone, but her... likes 50% more cash. but, i have an idea. do you want a princess dress? yes how about some cupcakes? yes lollipop? yes! do you want an etch a sketch? yes! do you want 50% more cash?
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imaginary president obama. >> i'm not going to shut up. it's my turn. what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that. he can't do that to himself. >> now in an exclusive interview with his hometown paper the carmel pine cone eastwood is shedding light on what the romney campaign expected from him and what it did not expect. paul miller, publisher of the carmel pine cone and the man who interviewed clint eastwood and wrote up this article, glad to have you here. >> thank you, alex. great to see you again. >> you, too. we'll let everyone know we have known each other for years. in fact, you're the guy who hired me for my first on-air job. thanks for that. let's go to clint eastwood who told you the romney camp wanted to know what he was going to say. he told them, you can't do that with me because i don't know what i'm going to say. they really had no idea? >> exactly. clint saw this from the very
beginning as a spontaneous, extemporaneous presentation that not only did he intend to make but that he was expected to make. a contrast to the scripted speeches that everyone else at the convention was making. and he certainly did change things up a bit. >> so what about pulling this chair, this stool, this empty chair, how did that idea come about? >> well, one of the things i tried to really paint a picture of in my story, and i think i actually did it pretty well. a lot of people have complimented me on making -- laying out the logistics and the time line and the ins and outs, what happens when you are a speaker at a national convention. how are you treated? where do you go? yes, i walked clint through it very carefully one step at a time. and i tried to pin him down when exactly did this idea of the chair hit you? of course, he told me the story. i was backstage waiting to go on. there was a stool there. and a fellow kept saying to me, don't you want to sit down? actually, clint said to me something i didn't mention in the story. he said they acted like i was 99
years old or something. he said, i looked at the stool. i thought about the stool. i said, well, i'll just put that out there and act like it's president obama and ask him why he hasn't kept the promises he made to the american people. >> look, he's an actor. he knows how to improvise. he knows how to do this. you and i both know as does pretty much everybody else when you go and you speak at a national convention you've got teleprompters. you have speeches completely scripted out. it's kind of a big deal if you even go off course with that. clint eastwood by your reporting had nothing written down. >> that's right. >> he just went out there and winged it. >> yeah. he had no notes. he went out there and winged it. he had basic three points in his mind that he wanted to make. and beyond that, he winged it. exactly. and he said to me, he's an actor, but i don't know if he's a good improviser. i've seen him speak at public events around the carmel area. he's funny. he's spontaneous.
he's relaxed. he was all of those things at the convention. the one thing he wasn't, he wasn't scripted. >> he's not known as a speech giver, per se. i think even as mayor he didn't necessarily do that. there were things that he wanted to get across. what were the main points? >> yes. the first point he wanted to make was that hollywood is not only people of left wing political persuasion or as he calls them, lefties. the second one was that the president in clint's view has not fulfilled the promises he made when he took office. and the third one was that there's no reason for the american people to worship a politician like he's royalty or something. if he's not doing the job, you let him go. that's the way he put it at the convention. >> he also said, paul, president obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the american people, to you. he's not backing down at all. >> yes. he told me -- i'm sorry? >> he doesn't back down at all. >> no, no, no. he's adamant there should be a change in the white house, definitely. he thinks that romney will do a
much better job than president obama has done. >> it is a very interesting interview in the carmel pine cone. thank you, paul miller, for speaking with me. and thanks for getting me launched all those years ago. appreciate it. >> thank you, alex. you're doing a great job. >> thank you. >> take care. >> you, too. san francisco mayor willie brown on whether california's testing the waters on taxing the rich. next here on "weekends with alex wit."
good day to all of you. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." oous past 1:00 p.m. in the east, 10:00 a.m. out west. here's what's happening out there new today. mitt romney like you've never heard him before. the republican presidential nominee giving an exclusive interview on today's "meet the press" with a sharp focus on the economy. >> i think this incumbent has a very challenged record. and jobs numbers that have come out this week as well as the performance over the last 3 1/2 years suggest that this is a president that has not been able to deliver on his promises. people are dissatisfied with where he's taken the country.
and that gives me an opportunity which might not have been available had he done what he said he would do. >> along that same vein, the governor later addressed taxes. >> my own plan, by the way, to bring down the rates of taxation while maintaining the revenues that come into the government is by making sure that we don't lower taxes on high-income people. we're not going to have high-income people pay less of the tax burden than they pay today. that's not what's going to happen. i do want to bring taxes down for middle-income people. in particular i want middle income americans not to have to pay taxes on income and interest and capital gain. >> moderate david gregory asked mitt romney about his speech at the republican national convention. specifically why he did not mention the war in afghanistan. >> i find it interesting that people are curious about mentioning words in a speech as opposed to policy. so i went to the american legion the day before i gave that speech. >> you weren't speaking to tens of millions of people when you went to the american legion. >> what i found wherever i go i
am speaking to tens of millions of people. everything i say is picked up by you and others and that's the way it ought to be. i have differences in policy with the president. i think those are more important than what word i mention in each speech. >> mr. romney also addressed questions about his mormon faith. >> i'm sure a number of members of my faith are proud of the fact that someone of my faith and our faith is able to run for president. my own reaction is i've got so many challenges ahead of me, i don't think so much about the impact this has on the church day-to-day, but more about what kind of impact i want to have on the electorate and what it takes to become elected president. >> you can watch mitt romney's enspire interview when "meet the press" reairs at 2:00 p.m. eastern, 11:00 a.m. eastern time when this show ends. as mitt romney made his kate on "meet the press" president obama rallied voter in the crucial battleground state of florida in just this past hour. >> our friends at the republican convention, they were more than happy to talk about everything
that they think is wrong with america. but they didn't have much to say about how to make it right. they want your vote, but they don't have a plan. >> nbc's kristen welker is traveling with the president. where are you now? >> we're about ten minutes outside of the melbourne. we haven't gotten very far. we'll still be on the bus for two hours as we head to west palm beach, the president's next stop. i can tell you, president obama really trying to turn the page this afternoon after friday's disappointing jobs report. focus on what he would do in the next four years vowing to invest in clean energy, education, manufacturing. he also took a swipe at mitt romney after his appearance on "meet the press," as you just played that sound bite. romney said that his tax plan would lower the deficit and help to get the economy back on track. mr. obama said that's not leadership, it's just bad math.
he took a little dig at mitt romney there. he also asked the voters in the crowd to give him four more years. take a listen to a little bit more of what the president had to say. >> it's going to take more than a few years to deal with problems that have been building up for decades. but let me tell you something, when our opponent goes around saying that the nation's in decline, he doesn't know what he's talking about. this is america. we've got the best workers in the world. >> president obama also revived the medicare debate today, alex, saying that the new study conducted by a harvard professor suggested the average american would wind up paying a whole lot more for medicare under a romney/ryan administration. i can tell you that the romney camp is pushing back against that saying the findings are
flawed in large part because that harvard professor is a former adviser back from president obama's 2008 campaign. alex, medicare's obviously something that really resonates with voters here in florida. back in 2008, a fifth of the voting population was seniors. so this is something that they care a lot about. this is an argument that they are listening to very carefully. if you look at the polls here in florida, alex, they show a very tight race with president obama holding on to a slight lead. i have to tell you, the unemployment rate is much higher than the national average here in florida. that's going to be a really big challenge for mr. obama to hold on to this state moving forward. we will probably be back in florida a number of times before now and election day, alex, because it is such a big battleground state. >> you may well get to know this road you're on right now to west palm beach. thank you very much and safe travels. brand-new polls indicate president obama's widening his lead over mitt romney in several
fayableable characteristics. who's more eloquent, 50% of voters chose the president compared to 25% for romney. when asked who's smart enough 46% sided with obama, 37% for romney. the only category in which romney had the advantage was being a man of faith. 44% picked romney who is a mormon. 31% for obama who is christian. for more on how the race is shaping up, former democratic mayor of san francisco willie brown joins me. mayor brown, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you for having me, alex. >> let's get right to some latest gallup polls in which it shows that president obama has a four-point edge over mitt romney right now. despite some rather disappointing job numbers, i might say. so first off, does that surprise you? and what do you think is at the heart of that? how does the president defie these economic realities and stay four points up? zbr it doesn't surprise me at all. i think the public is well aware of mr. obama's record and his performance in the first four years. what has actually occurred is that mr. romney has not been
able to have this obama versus obama. if it's obama versus romney, the numbers are always going to reflect exactly what it is. >> okay. let's cross the aisle for a moment now. if you're mitt romney's handlers, are you baffled that your candidate is behind despite this tepid recovery? >> i would not be baffled because i've been the one advices hadvicvis advising him on what he should or should not do. when he didn't address -- at the republican national convention. when he didn't release his tax returns in the manner in which he should have in order to ensure the american people he has nothing to hide. and when he's been unable, frankly, to translate the high unemployment rate into something that should be blamed on mr. obama, that's a problem. >> okay. so what do you think is the best
way for the president to sell the current economic situation to the voter? because, sir, with all due respect to the concept of you inherited something that was pretty bad four years ago, people get tired of that. their patience wears thin. they want answers. they want solutions. they want to feel better now. >> there is no question they want to feel better now. there's no question that they don't want you simply blaming what occurred before you got there. but bill clinton put it the best of anybody. he took it. he broke it down to very simple things. he talked about arithmetic. he talked about the absence of bin laden. he talked about how can you dream about unemployment when there are 3 million jobs and because we have not supplied the resources to train people for those jobs, people understand all of that. and they're not, in my opinion, ultimately going to hold barack obama accountable for their individual plight. >> in fact, you bring up former president clinton. he is headed to florida this week to campaign for president obama. here's what mitt romney said
today on "meet the press." let's listen. >> what about bill clinton? he had quite an impact. do you think he could get elected today for president? >> you know, if the constitution weren't in his way, perhaps. i don't know the answer to that. but he did stand out in contrast with the other speakers. i think he really did elevate the democratic convention in a lot of ways. >> how much influence can president clinton have on this race? can he be a real swing state difference maker? >> i believe that if bill clinton shows up in nevada, colorado, ohio, pennsylvania, places of that nature including florida, it could very well be the difference. because he makes the case as to why obama should be re-elected as well if not better than obama himself. >> let's talk about the upcoming presidential debates where it's going to have to be president obama and mitt romney. do you have a strong opinion on who is the better debater? >> i think it's clear that mr. obama is a great, great debater.
as a matter of fact, i don't know anybody who can match him in those skills. because of his superior intellect, his ability to marshal a large bit of information and spew it out around an individual subject matter. mr. romney doesn't have that skill or that kind of ability. that's why he's practicing so religiously currently. i think mr. obama is a first round draft choice. mr. romney is a freelance. >> in this recent interview, and even just a couple minutes ago, you suggested the president needs to go after mitt romney directly on his tax returns. is that because you see that he may be most vulnerable there? >> i believe that you cannot get away with saying, i'm not going to tell you how i made my money. i'm not going to tell you where i have it deposited. i'm not going to tell you how much -- how few dollars i paid on taxes because you'll compare it to yourself. i think that's an impossible
spot for mr. romney to be in. he should have a long time ago laid out his tax list. he should have a long time ago talked about the inequities in the system that benefited him and people like himself and how he will remove those inequities in order to make the whole question of taxes fair to everybody. if he did that, he wouldn't have that liability. >> okay. i want to ask you about another thing relative to taxes. and it's in the golden state there, which by the way is my home state. i'm very curious about this. it has this initiative on the ballot in november to raise the sale tax and taxes on the wealthy. california as you know already has the second highest personal income tax rate. do you think california voters are going to go for this and do you think it's going to tell us anything about people's appetite across the country for higher taxes on the wealthy? >> californians have always been on the cutting edge of almost every issue. and it is clear that we do need to raise revenues in the state of california or cut
expenditures. we've become so convinced and so addicted to the programs we have in place, i think we're willing to spend the money to pay for them, particularly when the money is angled and directed at. and what governor brown has done, he put a measure on the ballot to raise the taxes both sales taxes and personal income taxes in a way that i think the public in california perceives as fair. there's not much of an organized campaign against it. i would suggest to you that it is going to instruct the nation on how best to answer the debt crisis and the problems that they're having with money. >> all right. former democratic mayor of san francisco, willie brown. such a pleasure. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. just ahead on the campaign trail, president obama takes a light hearted approach to the birther issue. and mitt romney appears to people of faith. will that really get more voters to believe in him? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." ♪
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right now, people in parts of new york city are digging through the damage from twin tornadoes. many new yorkers grabbed their cameras and recorded these twisters as they tore a path of destruction through the city. weather channel meteorologist reynolds wolf is live for us in brooklyn right where one of those tornadoes touched down. it's good to see you again. you're right by that woodchip area. look at that balcony behind you with the damage. >> reporter: yeah, how about that? the winds that came through here from one of the two tornadoes that you had mentioned, you see the damage. winds were about the equivalent of a minimal tropical storm. as they came through it certainly did the damage. see the chippers down here. on this side you have the damage to the tree. you see the awning. even some roof damage high above. in parts of queens we had the
other tornado that came. we are still in the peak of the tropical season. there was damage there. the damage we had over in queens was mainly structural damage. maybe a tree here or there. for the most part it was minimal. you did have people certainly scared out of their wits, but no injuries, no fatalities to report. keep in mind even though we're focused on the two tornadoes, you have to include the entire area. this really did cover a lot of broad reach from maine to the mid-atlantic and affected millions of people. >> oh, my god. look at the tornado! >> reporter: home video shows the funnel cloud spinning off the ocean and bearing down on a seaside resort in queens, new york and residential neighborhood in brooklyn. >> it ripped all across. i watched all the roofs start blowing off. >> his roof flew up and hit the next door neighbor house here where i live at. >> reporter: in a flash, trees came down. roofs came off. anything not secured slammed into homes. a chunk of brick crashed through a room just missing a sleeping
baby. >> she showed me the big brick that fall close to the child. >> reporter: people had a half hour advance warning. there were no serious injuries reported. but they have a big mess to clean up. nearby the u.s. open suspended play and fans streamed out of the tennis center to escape the potential danger. farther south in florida, rutgers football fans ran for cover. the size of the storm caught weather experts off guard. >> it was way above average day for severe weather for the month of september. probably about seven or eight times above average in terms of the number of reports. storms occurred ahead of a cold front that spanned all the way from canada to the gulf of mexico. >> reporter: pockets of destruction stretched as far as fairfax, virginia, where two funnel clouds ripped through the area. as many as 200,000 homes lost power. a dozen people were hurt. four hospitalized as hundreds of people ran for shelter at the prince george's county fair in maryland. alex, one thing interesting about this, this tornado really didn't last that long.
it was on ground maybe for about 30 seconds, tops. something more to consider, it wasn't very big. at its widest point maybe 50 feet. the trail of damage, i'd say maybe about 600 yards at most. let's send it back to you, alex. >> still. we never see, 50 feet wide or not, that was just incredible. thank you for the very latest. back to politics. mitt romney campaigning in virginia, striking a new theme by invoking a higher power. >> that pledge says under god. i will not take god out of the name of our platform. [ cheers and applause ] i will not take god off our coins, and i will not take god out of my heart. we're a nation that's thought by god. >> joining me now, political reporter with the "washington post" and nbc political analyst.
good day to both of you. ladies first. you've been following the romney campaign. what do you see is the angle here? >> that's right. i was at the speech yesterday. the angle was very simply it's hard to imagine that mitt romney wins the white house without winning virginia. he, of course, made a similar pledge around god. a similar plea for evangelical voters in virginia before with one of his first speeches. that was at liberty university which, of course, was founded by jerry fallwell. you saw there pat robertson in the audience. we can see here now he's obviously make a strong plea for support among evangelicals. i think it's surprising that this late in the game when this was supposed to be a campaign at least from mitt romney's view all about the economy, that this late in the game he's still making efforts to make inroads into have this social evangelical wing of the party back him. it'll be interesting to see if he continues to do this. if, in fact, this line about
god, this line about keeping god on the coins, doesn't seem to me that there's actually a fight around that. >> that's what i was thinking. >> it'll be interesting to see if this remains in his stump speech or this is just something he trotted out with this particular crowd in virginia beach. >> jonathan, to you. basically same thing. does striking the god theme help the romney camp? >> you know, the democrats gave mitt romney an opening on this by keeping god out of the platform. some dopes in the platform committee, even though it was chaired by former governor strickland, who is a minister, they kept god out of the platform. then the president, you know, had to swoop down and say, no, change the platform and put god and moving the embassy to jerusalem back in to the platform. it gave them a little bit of an opening in the same way that mitt romney not mentioning afghanistan gave the democrats an opening. but, as usual, the republicans took it a step further. and to accuse the president or
imply that the president somehow wants to get in god we trust off of coins is just a lie. so it's an example of a little bit of desperation that they think they need to go there. >> the president was on one of the sunday talk shows talking about the economy. specifically about the national debt and tax cuts. let's listen. >> if we go back to the ftax rates for folks making more than $250,000 a year, back to rates we had under bill clinton, we can close the deficit, stabilize the economy, keep taxes on middle-class families low, provide the certainty that i think all of us would be looking for. and i'm also willing, by the way, to make some adjustments to medicare and medicaid that would strengthen the programs. >> does the obama team agree that the president has not done a good enough job explaining the economic situation or does this
current economic situation defy any positive explanations at all? >> i think a little of both. you've heard the president himself say that he would give himself not such a great grade in terms of explaining himself in terms of telling a story to the american people about his administration's policies. but i do think it's an awful lot of explaining to do. in some ways it defies sound bites. there are all sorts of structural changes that have been going on in this economy for the last 10, 15, 20 years that are really hard to explain in an interview, in a speech. you obviously saw him try to do that at the convention. a lot of people felt like bill clinton was better at doing that. of course, i think we'll see bill clinton doing more of that out in florida, specifically, next year. i do think on the stump he probably is a little bit better at explaining. if you talk to people who support him, they pretty much parrot a lot of the things that he said there in that interview. certainly, a point to bush as a
primary source of a lot of country's problems. >> if you look at all this in perspective, and this to you,on than, president clinton being out there on the road. in 2000 al gore basically ran away from bill clinton. now bill clinton may be the linchpin to victory for president obama. then look at the republican convention where no one dared to mention george w. bush's name. is this just politics? >> it's an indication of our recent national history. in the 1990s we created 22 million new jobs under president clinton's presidency. in the first decade of the 21st century, job growth on average was slower than it is now. that was before the collapse. i know most people find that hard to believe. but what happened is the last time we tried this idea, that mitt romney is proposing of slashing regulation and slashing taxes in 2001, it did not create
jobs. so this is why you see clinton being embraced. not just because he's a great speaker. and bush being shunned. it's because we have slam dunk historical evidence of whose leadership was better for the economy. >> let's look at the gallup polls that were just released. you see the new numbers there. it's increased now to five percentage points, 49 to 44 for the president. a clear bounce for president obama. how concerned is the romney camp about this? >> publicly, not very concerned. certainly privately, they are concerned. they're also concerned if you look at the swing states, you know, states like ohio, states like florida, states like virginia, president obama is doing pretty good in terms of those states. in terms of the poll numbers there. they've just got a lot of work to do, the romney campaign, over this next 58 days. they're obviously pinning a lot of hope on the debate, the first debate on october 3rd. again, that's betting that debates change minds. that debates caneally speak to the 6% or 8% of independent vote
rs. i don't know that that's necessarily true. it's a big gamble. they've got a lot of money they can finally spend. you've seen them put out 15 different ads in eight different states over the last days. >> jonathan, we have "the washington post" today which says the candidate who's led mid-september generally has gone on to win in november. is there a different dynamic, though, in the race because the country's so polarized? >> we don't know, which is part of what makes it interesting. there are not very many data points for them to come to necessarily that conclusion. but it is true that opinions can harden. if you're behind at the end of september, in the last 10 or 12 presidential elections, very hard to come back. romney points to 1980 when jimmy carter was ahead of ronald reagan until those debates. and reagan went on to win a big victory. so they're hoping that this is kind of a repeat of 1980 and that once people see romney in the debates, they will decide
that he, not president obama, is the one to lead us forward. they're also betting that all the money that they're pouring in post-labor day where they will outspend obama on the air, that that will pay off for them. the obama people pursued a different theory of presidential campaigns. that is that early money, early spending at the beginning of the summer to define mitt romney is what will make the difference. >> okay. thanks, you guys, both of you. it was a speech watched by millions on tv and on the internet. in fact, michelle obama's convention speech was seen online more than the entire republican convention. according to visible measures, the first lady's speech garner master's degree than 2.6 million views by noon on friday. over roughly the same amount of time videos of the top ten republican convention speeches wrapped up about 2.1 million views.
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oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good.
[ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners. president obama ninding some time to mingle with patrons of a sports bar in orlando this weekend opinion while shaking hands and posing for pictures one woman told the president her son was born in hawaii. that prompted the president to offer this joke. >> hey, he's hawaiian. you were born in hawaii? >> hawaii. >> okay. do you have a birth certificate? >> well, the president there joke playing the birther claims he wasn't born in the u.s. as you can see everyone had a good laugh. still ahead another way of looking at the battle for the white house. which candidate offers americans the best opportunity to move on up? ♪
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anything ♪ ♪ i just wanna lay in my bed >> unless you want to take a look at times square. which looks pretty nice today. 35 past the hour. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." more new comments from mitt romney. this time explaining how he'd offset proposed tax cuts by cutting loopholes for high income taxpayers. he made the remarks in an exclusive interview with david gregory on "meet the press." >> give me an example of a loophole that you will close. >> i can tell you that people at the high end, high income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions. those numbers are going to come down. otherwise they'd get a tax break. i want to make sure people understand, despite what the democrats said at their convention, i am not reducing taxes on high income taxpayers. i'm bringing down the rate of taxation, but also bringing down deductions and exemptions at the high end so the revenues stay the same. >> you can see more of david gregory's exclusive interview with mitt romney when "meet the
press" airs again at 2:00 p.m. eastern as soon as this show ends here on msnbc. a new article in the "washington post" focuses on an issue at the heart of the nation's economic troubles. the idea of upward mobility. at stake, how easy or hard it can be in this country to get ahead and how it's playing in the election. with me, matt miller, the man who wrote the article. >> good to see you. >> let's talk about this. you call it the rubio paradox. i want to play you some of what senator marco rubio said at the rnc as he was talking about his grandfather. >> as a boy i used to sit on the porch of our house and listen to stories about history and politics and baseball. as he would puff on one of his three daily padron cigars. the one thing i remember is the one thing he wanted me never to forget. that the dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve. but there was no limit how far i
could go because i was an american. >> okay. so explain this rubio paradox to me. >> well, i mean, everybody loves the sentiment that marco rubio was expressing there because we all want to believe the american dream is the core part of our country. that you can come from humble circumstance and rise. all the republicans talked about that at their convention. what none of them acknowledged is that all the latest research shows the ability to rise from poor circumstances is now lower in the united states than in most of europe. that should shock us. because those are countries with aristocratic histories, very rigid class systems. yet now you have a greater chance of rising from poor circumstances than in the u.s. and what's so striking, the paradox, is that rubio and other republicans talk about upward mobility and the american dream. but they don't offer any ideas in today's circumstances for what we need to do on public policy to actually increase the
odds that we can renew the american dream for the next generation. >> here's what's slightly depressing. you write after listening to president obama's proposals democrats are also, quote, unequal to today's challenges. tell me about that. >> there's no question president obama, the agenda he has from his first term and what he's proposing focus on college costs, k-12 education. it's better than what the republicans are offering because basically all they're doing is cutting taxes, cutting taxes mostly for the best off, despite what mitt romney was trying to allege on "meet the press." that means they'll be forced into deep cuts for programs that help lower income folks get a start in life. progressives need to understand the outer limits of president obama's ambitious are not equal to the challenge today. one key example. look at k to 12 education. we're the only country, the united states, where we tolerate these amazing differences in per pupil spending between poor districts and poor neighborhoods
and schools in affluent neighborhoods. it can be as high as 2-1. in other words, affluent suburbs may spend outside chicago twice as much per pupil as the downtown chicago schools will spend. what that means is that the suburbs attract the best teachers, they have the nicest facilities, and we're dooming poor children to the least qualified teachers and the shabbiest facilities in the country. unfortunately that's been kind of a third rail. because we still do so much education finance through state and local taxes, obama and other progressives haven't been willing to take on these huge disparities. if we don't do that and recruit a generation of great teachers for the kids who need them most, it's no -- it's no surprise that we won't get kids -- getting kids the litoff they need if they start off poor. >> you need to have a platform during nbc's education nation coming up in a couple weeks. that's exactly one of the talking points we should be discussing. also this, though. do you think the problem is in part that americans still feel
that the u.s. is the land of opportunity because it used to be? >> i think, look, everybody wants to believe in their heart that because it has been possible for so many millions over the generations to find that the streets were paved with gold here, i think it's -- i think americans are uneasy. part of the economic anxiety we see today is people know something's wrong. other nations are rising. we're losing our competitiveness in what's clearly a global economy now. and we're going to need to think outside the box and much more ambitiously if we're going to make good on renewing the promise of the american dream for this generation. i think obama clearly has the rhetoric and the desire. but i think we don't have the policy agenda even on the democratic side yet that's equal to what we need to do. >> okay. matt miller, thank you very much. great article. i appreciate your coming on. >> good to see you. up next, the big three. what could be president obama's most powerful weapon to win four more years. these fellas used capital one venture miles
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it was a gift. it's time now for the big three. today's topics, advantage obama? explainer-in-chief. and this week's must-reads. my big 3 panel, hogan giddily. former senior adviser to the hillary clinton for president campaign, doug hadway. president of hadway communications. real clear politics reporter erin mcpike. hogan, i'll begin with you. as i want to read something from an article in this weekend's "politico" which quotes, the romney campaign while pleasantly surprised by obama's lackluster prime time performance says the post convention bounce they hoped for fell well short of expect tass and privately lament state by state polling numbers most glaringly in ohio are working in the president's favor. hogan, is that genuine concern
for the romney camp or are they down playing their chances with some strategy in mind? >> i'm not sure. i think, though, it is a problem for the mitt romney campaign right now as we start to see these leads that barack obama held over the past few months begin to grow a little bit in places like michigan and pennsylvania and ohio. of course, florida, north carolina, virginia, those states right there, the most important swing states we've been talking about for a very long time, knowing all the conventions, all the debates, it's going to come down to those states, the fact that governor romney is trailing in those states does -- it is a cause for concern for the campaign and for the republican -- republicans that i know. because we think we have a better message. we think we have a better ability to change this country for the better. and right now the swing states aren't seeing it. hopefully some advertising will have to change that message as soon as possible. we've been hearing about all these million of dollars that the romney campaign has got. plus their super pacs are involved with all their millions. hopefully that will start to change the direction of the campaign.
>> erin, you're from ohio. sounds like the romney camp is concerned about that state. no republican has won the presidency without ohio. how do you read the romney comments? >> well, ohio has been great to the obama campaign. but they have been organizing there essentially since the last election. i've seen some of their organization at work. and it is true that the romney campaign is not nearly as well organized. and the auto bailout is something that the obama campaign has been pushing again and again in the northern half of ohio. and it seems to be working. so i expect that we'll see a lot of mitt romney in ohio over the next two months. >> okay. doug, while it appears the president has the easier path to an electoral victory, if you're running the president's campaign, what would you warn them about as potential pitfalls? >> i think the big challenge for the democrats is turning out our base. it's getting those voters who put barack obama in office in 2008 excited and turning out again. i think everybody recognizes that's the big challenge here.
while those overall poll numbers look good, if you look underneath it, the republican base voters are saying they're more excited to turn out. i think the president is rightly focused on that. while he's also trying to talk to that thin sliver of undecided voters still left in these battleground states. he's also talking to the base, reminding people what's at stake here, that he's moving the country forward and mitt romney would take us backward. that's a message to those folks who really were looking for change in 2008. they need to be convinced that he's going to keep working for it. >> okay. doug, i'm going to stick with you as we move on to our next topic which is explainer in chief. in florida this weekend the president thanked president clinton for his convention speech, throwing in a little humor. let's listen. >> after he spoke, somebody sent out a tweet. they said, you should appoint him secretary of explaining stuff. i like that. secretary of explaining stuff. although, i have to admit, it
didn't really say stuff. i cleaned that up a little bit. >> that's kind of funny. the president is campaigning for president obama. meaning president clinton is campaigning for president obama in florida. can bill clinton turn out to be president obama's most powerful campaign weapon in this final stretch? >> he's certainly a very powerful one. i think the power of it is reminding people it's the democratic economic strategy which brought us budget surpluses and record economic growth. investing in innovation to jump start cool new industries like clean energy. investing in the economic infratruckture that makes our economy go. and supporting education so middle-class people can get good, new jobs. i think that's the power of president clinton just being out there, reminding people that's how you get this job done. of course, president obama is moving us forward trying to get that -- the president who is delivering that message about
the future. because the election really is, of course, a choice between the two visions for the future. so president obama has to carry that these two presidents out on the campaign trail, hogan, does governor romney have anyone comparable on his team, the bill clinton effect could bring in for him? >> bill clinton gave a great speech, obviously ace in the hole for barack obama. i think a lot of people remember his presidency so fondly. i find it ironic that both the republicans and the dem contracts are harkening back to the clinton years to try to help their case to move forward. i also find it ironic that someone who got impeached for his lack of ability to tell the truth and someone who kind of is a known philanderer for that matter, do we look to him to be the paragon of virtue to tell us how they were back then. but that's another story. >> can't argue with the economic numbers my friend. >> he was right. before, though, i will say mitt
romney is on the ballot, so is barack obama. bill clinton isn't. he's a powerful ally and powerful speaker on behalf of the president. at the end of the day, barack obama has to answer for the unemployment numbers, for the broken promises he made to the american people. mitt romney has to remind people and tell them point-blank i'm not as likable, but i'm ten times more capable. i think that's the big difference here. we do focus on likability. barack obama very likable. mitt romney needs to make the case. he's the one who is actually capable. >> erin, i want your take on president clinton's potential impact on the race. do you know why he didn't start stumping for president obama sooner? >> bill clinton is very powerful. i think the obama campaign had to ask president clinton. in answer to your first question, do the republicans have anyone like bill clinton, no. there's nothing on quite that scale. mitt romney has a larger number of surrogates in a number of important states, marco rubio in
florida, can and scott walker, the governor of wisconsin. wionsin can be a problem for president obama simply because of those surrogates. they don't have anything quite like bill clinton that the rest of the country knows a lot about that. >> hogan, doug and erin, you guys sit tight. the big three's must reads next. r american-made energy. but we've got to be careful how we get it. design the wells to be safe. thousands of jobs. use the most advanced technology to protect our water. billions in the economy. at chevron, if we can't do it right, we won't do it at all. we've got to think long term. we've got to think long term. ♪
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we're back with the big three. we have the must-reading. hogan gidley, erin and doug write. >> a miss peggy noonan, "the democrats' soft extremism. a great comprehensive look at the convention, what she saw as the message points coming out of it. the goodness and badness of the speech is a wonderful must-read. >> doug, how about you? >> mine is today's political memo in "the new york times" which is for political junkies.
it's "five crucial factors to watch, in the last 58 days of a very tight presidential race where little things at the margins can make a big difference like a third party candidate on the ballot. it's interesting if you like the five-dimensional chest. >> you mean gary johnson put in there by the name. having worked for al gore in 2000. >> the ralph nader effect right there. >> erin, how about you, your must read? >> a great story in "the new york times" this morning about student loan debt that's mounting and debt collectors going after it. it's very important because president obama right now is talking about student loans in a big way trying to make that a big issue for the election. >> that is a big issue. as a parent of a couple of kids, that's a big issue. all right, you guys, thank you very much. hogan gidley, erin mcpike. that's a wrap-up. up next we have "meet the
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